Channel 4’s annual showcase of Bollywood films returns this autumn bigger and better than ever before!

Now in its 22nd year, Channel 4 presents twenty top movies from the thriving Indian film industry, including two from Sri Lanka, where the growing film industry is beginning to rival India?s but explores very different, internal themes.

The central season is Bollywood Firsts, sixteen films from first time directors, many of them actors who have moved behind the camera.

The season opens with Main Hoon Na, directed by seasoned Bollywood choreographer Farah Khan, a rip-roaring action comedy full of zany humour, colour and life, which affectionately spoofs Hindi films of the ?70s and ?80s. Starring the top name in Indian cinema today, Shah Rukh Khan, Main Hoon Na was a smash hit on its release in 2004.

Other highlights include Pinjar, the tragic tales of women at the time of Partition raised by first-time director Chandraprakash Dwivedi; Paap, Pooja Bhatt?s directorial debut which was inspired by Peter Weir?s Witness, and combines the thriller with romance and a quest for spirituality; and Makdee, a rarity in Indian cinema, a film for children, mixing a spooky fable with fun characters and plenty of songs from composer-turned-director Vishal Bhardwaj, who won second prize at the Chicago International Children?s Film Festival for this, his first movie.

Two Bollywood Sirens hit the screen in searing dramas. Anurag Basu?s Murder is a story of infidelity and its terrible cost. To escape her stifling life with her workaholic husband, bored housewife Malika Sherawat (soon to be seen co-starring with Jackie Chan in The Myth) begins an affair with an ex-boyfriend. But when her husband grows suspicious and hires a private detective, the infidelity soon comes to light. Jism caused a stir for its explicit erotic scenes from its two pin-up stars. Kabir Lala, (John Abraham), is a lawyer who falls for the beautiful Sonia (Bipasha Basu, who in her introductory scene strides out of the sea like Ursula Andress in Dr No), and the couple plot to murder her businessman husband so they can be together.

Cinema Sri Lanka screens August Sun, from one of Sri Lanka?s leading directors, Prasanna Vithanage. Set in the claustrophobic climate of the Sri Lankan civil war, it follows three disparate families? experiences of loss. Flying with One Wing deals with issues of gender, power and sexuality. Asoka Handagama?s feature debut is a bold, revolutionary film, recently screened at The London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. Surrounded by controversy on its release, Sri Lankan censors insisted Handagama cut several sequences before they would allow the film?s release. The director refused to dilute his vision and it is this version Channel 4 will screen.

The full movie list is as follows:

(telecast times to be confirmed, dates are subject to change)

Sunday 18th September Main Hoon Naa

Thursday 22nd September Pinjar

Friday 23rd September Munnabhai MBBS

Thursday 29th September Main Madhuri Bana Chahti

Friday 30th September Ek Hasina Thi

Thursday 6th October Jhankar Beats

Friday 7th October Makdee

Thursday 13th October Paap

Friday 14th October Dance Of The Wind

Thursday 20th October Sarfarosh

Friday 21st October Armaan

Thursday 27th October Kuch Na Kaho

Friday 28th October Raghu Romeo

Thursday 3rd November Ab Tak Chapaan

Friday 4th November Saathiya

Thursday 10th November Dil Chahta Hai

Cinema Sri Lanka

Friday 11th November August Sun

Thursday 17th November Flying With One Wing

Bollywood Sirens

Friday 18th November Murder

Thursday 24th November Jism